If the University of Alaska is going to cut its timber here in Haines, those trees should be milled here in Haines. If the logs leave on ships, we will have missed a big opportunity to improve our economy. The money and the jobs are in the processing, not in the sale of logs.

The University has 150 million board feet of timber, and they want to make $15 million. That averages out to 10 cents/bf. They seem to have no idea what the wood is really worth. I have been making musical instruments since 1973. A top-grade spruce guitar soundboard currently sells for $89. Boat-grade spruce sells for $15/bf. Clear hemlock sells for $7/bf. Birch goes for $4/bf, and cottonwood for $3/bf. Construction grade lumber sells for about a dollar a board foot. If all the University’s timber were just cut into 2x4s it would be worth $150 million.

The University’s ads make it seem like their plan is great for our kids. It’s not. It will create hundreds of jobs for people in China so that they can send their kids to college. Exporting logs is a massive waste of our potential. Process the logs here, and we can create jobs and wealth here in Haines. With 150 million bf of timber we could restart a mill here and employ people for a long time. The University should invest in Haines. Partner with us to create jobs here. Haines, and the University, will be better off.

Rob Goldberg